Tuesday, January 14, 2020

You are being shaped by the people around you

PROVERBS 14:7
“Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.”

Sometimes I watch my children and see myself in them. Sometimes I see their mother in them. They have spent the majority of their lives with us. For now, no one has influenced them more than we have. Now that they are out of the house that is beginning to change, because they are no longer spending time with us and now they are spending time with others.

The people you spend time with influence the person you are and person you will become. You will begin using similar language to those with whom you spend the most amount of time. You will begin to have the same attitude as those with whom you spend the most amount of time. You will begin to behave like those with whom you spend the most amount of time.


Proverbs 14 warns you to leave the presence of a fool because they will not help you learn. I can think of a few other dangers which arise when we spend too much time with the wrong influencers.

When we are around critical people, we become more critical.
When we are around materialistic people, we become more materialistic.
When we are around course people, we become more course.
When we are around apathetic people, we become more apathetic.

Or course, the reverse is also true.

When we are around gracious people, we become more gracious.
When we are around content people, we become more content.
When we are around kind people, we become more kind.
When we are around hard-working people, we become more hard-working.

You cannot always choose the people who are around you, but you can choose which people influence you. Choose wisely my friends!

Monday, January 6, 2020

Failing Doesn't Make You A Failure

It's Monday.

The majority of Americans have already failed at keeping their New Year's resolutions. Perhaps you are among that number. Or perhaps you have failed at something else. We all have.

Failing doesn't make you a failure.

You failed in the past. Leave it there. You cannot change the past and you cannot control the past. The past is set in stone. Don't let something you cannot control seize control of you. Don't be controlled by the past.



You can control the present. Choose today to seize the opportunities which come your way. Apply wisdom to every possibility. Speak truthfully and graciously. Look for the best in people and situations. Focus on solutions instead of obstacles.

Your future will be determined by your present unless you allow yourself to be controlled by your past. So you failed. Learn from it and let it go.

Yesterday is gone, it died when you went to sleep. The Son has risen, and so has the sun. Resurrection happens every day and brings with it fresh and new potential. Today is a new day, with new opportunities. Feel free to fail, but don't let yourself become a failure.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Hey Everybody! Let’s stop talking about impeachment

Almost everyone has something to say about impeachment. Very few people are still forming an opinion, yet very many people are vigorously trying to change everyone else’s opinion.
I think it is time to stop talking about impeachment. In fact, I think it would do all of us a great amount of good if as many people as possible committed to not talk about impeachment at all for the next 30 days. Not only would we have fewer arguments and hurt feelings, we would all be a little bit happier I think.
Consider first, these three reasons why there is no reason for you to talk about impeachment. Then, I’ll suggest ten things more important than talking about impeachment.

THREE REASONS YOU DON’T NEED TO TALK ABOUT IMPEACHMENT

  1. No matter how much you talk about impeachment, you aren’t going to change anyone’s mind.
  2. No matter how much you talk about impeachment, you aren’t going to change what the House or the Senate does next.
  3. No matter how much you talk about impeachment, you aren’t going to change the final outcome.
Regardless of whether you are a part of Trump’s America or are a Never-Trumper, you aren’t going to change anything by continuing to talk about impeachment. You are going to get more frustrated, you are going to make others more frustrated, and you are going to create a further divide between you and those with whom you disagree. But you are not going to change anything.
So, instead of talking about impeachment, consider these more important pursuits.

TEN THINGS MORE IMPORTANT THAN IMPEACHMENT

  1. Christmas cookies. You can never have too many Christmas cookies, so when you feel the urge to talk about impeachment, make a batch of Christmas cookies instead.
  2. Common Courtesy. If you don’t know what courtesy is, google it. You can make your world a better place by smiling at others, holding doors, saying “please”, “thank you”, and “I’m sorry” and by patiently waiting in line.
  3. Silence. Silence really is golden. When you choose silence, you have the opportunity to listen to others and learn from them. At the very least, you have a moment to observe what is going on around you and you can learn to appreciate the intricacies and goodness of the world in which we live. Since talking about impeachment only leads to problems, choose silence instead.
  4. Cleaning up. Nobody has a spotless house. We all have that one room or hallway that needs attention. Next time you have a hankering to talk about impeachment, go spend fifteen minutes cleaning up instead.
  5. Your neighbors. Most people either don’t know their neighbors well or don’t know their neighbors at all. Don’t go talk to your neighbors about impeachment, but do bring them a batch of those Christmas cookies you made. You will make your world a little sweeter and you might make a new life-long friend.
  6. Family hugs. Whether it’s your children, parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces, or crazy uncles; most people need a hug. Make it your commitment throughout the holiday season to be generous with hugs and stingy with political opinions.
  7. High Fives. For those who are uncomfortable wit hugs, rewrite the previous point inserting “high fives” in place of “hugs”.
  8. Your car’s tires. Winter is coming. The roads are likely to be a little more slippery. Even if you have a four wheel drive vehicle, you still need good tires. Four wheel drive becomes four wheel slide on a patch of icy road. Every time you sense a conversation about impeachment coming on, walk outside or to the garage and check your tires for proper inflation and tread (YouTube can teach you how to use a penny to check your tires).
  9. Coworkers. You need the people you work with to be on their game. If they are not hitting on all cylinders, neither will you. Why would you want to drive a wedge between yourself and those you need in order to make a living. Don’t talk about impeachment at work. Just don’t.
  10. Your sanity. That’s right. Your sanity is more important than impeachment. The morning after this whole thing is resolved, you will have to wake up and go on with your life. Very little will have changed. The degree to which you have made this issue important in your life will determine the degree to which you are devastated when it doesn’t end like you expect. It’s not important enough to lose your mind or your friends or your family over. Just don’t talk about it.
Thirty days from now, the impeachment drama will likely not be over, but the holidays will. Even if the propaganda and spin are still hurtling out of Washington at a record pace, you don’t have to be part of it.
Turn off the news and pick up a book. Put down social media and go out for coffee with a real-life friend. Stop liking and sharing posts and start sharing liking people and sharing joy.
Or just share this post. Let the world know to stop talking to you about i*********t.

Christmas Is For Everyone

PSALM 146:8-9The Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the sojourners;
he upholds the widow and the fatherless,

but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

Why was Jesus born in a barn? Why did God choose to have Him be the child of blue-collar parents? Why were smelly shepherds the first to announce his arrival to their neighbors? Why did He grow up in Nazareth, the place from which “nothing good comes”?

I think God wanted to be certain everyone knew that Jesus was for everyone. No person and no class of persons was excluded.

Jesus was for the Jew and the Gentile.
Jesus was for women and men.
Jesus was for servants and for kings.
Jesus was for adults and for children.
Jesus was for Red, Yellow, Black, and White.
Jesus was for democrats and republicans.
Jesus was for those who watch Fox News and MSNBC.
Jesus was for immigrants and CEOs.
Jesus was for shepherds and wise men.
Jesus was for everyone.

So this Christmas, before you write someone else off because they look differently than you, speak differently than you, or even vote differently than you. Baby Jesus came for everyone and Adult Jesus died for everyone.

If Jesus died for them, what does it mean for you to die to yourself for them?

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Jesus' light pierced the darkness already, and soon will dispel it completely!

ROMANS 13:12
The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.


Sometimes, at night, I maneuver through the dark house using the light from my cellphone's flashlight. It isn't ideal, but it provides just enough light for me to get where I need to go. The light pierces the darkness but doesn't eliminate it. If I wasn't concerned with waking my family, I would simply flip a switch and turn on the lights in the hall or room where I am. Those lights don't just pierce the darkness, the dispell it. The darkness is eliminated.

At Christmas, Jesus pierced the darkness. He was the light that came into the world and showed us what we needed to get to where He wanted us to go. His life was our example, His death was our substitute, and His resurrection was our salvation. He showed us the way back to our Heavenly Father.



At His second coming, Jesus will not just pierce the darkness, He will dispell it. He will right all wrongs, He will make all things new, He will eliminate evil and its power.

Jesus is the light and if we are His, we are children of light. When He comes into our life, He ends a lifetime of darkness and empowers us to live a new life of light.

Therefore, let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light!

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

I am not a fan of Bath and Body Works

PHILIPPIANS 4:18
I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

Marianne loves Bath and Body Works. She has some kind of membership/rewards deal which allows her every so often to get incredible discounts in the store. We often do a lot of our Christmas shopping there (we did much more when we were still buying gifts for our kids' teachers).

I don't care for the store. The cacophony of smells is overwhelming, even for someone like me who has a poor sense of smell. Recently, they've added some "male scents" with names like Bourbon, Graphite, and Teakwood. This makes it a little more manageable for me, but I still don't like it. Usually, I'll hang out with Marianne for about 5 minutes, then I'll drift out into the mall and look for a massage chair.

The overwhelming fragrance is just not something I enjoy.

In Philippians 4:18, Paul describes the Philippians gift to him as a "fragrant offering." What do you think he meant by that?

I am quite confident the Philippians didn't send Paul a gift basket with some Teakwood body wash from Bath and Body Works. In fact, Paul wasn't even saying that their gift smelled good to him. He was saying their gift smelled good to God!

This is Old Testament imagery. When the Israelites would offer up their burnt sacrifices to God, the aroma would fill the air. If their hearts were right when making the sacrifice, God said that it was a pleasing fragrance to Him.

Paul is transferring the concept from the burnt offerings of the Israelites in the Old Testament to the generous giving of the Gentiles in the New Testament.

What does this mean for you? When you give to others out of a heart full of gratitude toward God... your sacrifice is a pleasing fragrance to your Heavenly Father.

So at Thanksgiving this year, don't stop at being grateful. Let your gratitude spill over into generosity toward your fellow man. You will be offering a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

9-9-9 Updated.

I love making lists. I made these three lists back in 2011. I guess some things change and some things stay the same.

2011

9 Teams I Prefer to All Others:

  1. Michigan State Spartans
  2. Detroit Tigers
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Liverpool FC Reds
  5. Detroit Red Wings
  6. Sailor Soccer
  7. Cedarville Yellowjackets
  8. Detroit Pistons
  9. Cincinnati Reds

9 Teams I Love to Hate:

  1. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  2. Chicago Bears
  3. Minnesota Twins
  4. Colorado Avalanche
  5. Manchester United Red Devils
  6. Green Bay Packers
  7. Chicago White Sox
  8. Dallas Cowboys
  9. New York Yankees

9 Athletes I Admire:

  1. Steve Yzerman
  2. Barry Sanders
  3. Lou Whitaker
  4. Steve Smith (MSU basketball)
  5. John Stockton/Karl Malone
  6. Greg Maddox
  7. Isaiah Thomas
  8. Brandon Inge
  9. Andy Pettitte

2019

9 Teams I Prefer to All Others:

  1. George Fox University Bruins Soccer
  2. Liverpool FC
  3. Detroit Tigers
  4. Detroit Red Wings
  5. Detroit Lions
  6. Michigan State Spartans
  7. Dutch National Team (Soccer)
  8. Taylor University Trojans
  9. FC Cincinnati

9 Teams I Love to Hate:

  1. University of Michigan
  2. Notre Dame Fighting Irish
  3. Manchester United
  4. Green Bay Packers
  5. Chicago Bears
  6. Minnesota Twins
  7. Colorado Avalanche
  8. Dallas Cowboys
  9. New York Yankees

9 Pro Athletes I Admire:

  1. Steve Yzerman
  2. Barry Sanders
  3. Lou Whitaker
  4. Steven Gerrard
  5. Pavel Datsyuk
  6. Matthew Stafford
  7. Justin Verlander
  8. Lionel Messi
  9. Jordan Henderson